The Polka is a lively dance that brings a smile to my face, even if I have yet to master the half step. I think the accordion in it’s own right is a major part of the reason I smile. I have always been intrigued by the accordion and it’s slinky dog- like utilization. The accordion, plays a starring role in not only Polka, but in Tejano and Zydeco traditions, which hold significance in the Southeastern United States. Whether you prefer iterations of Czech, French or Mexican application of the accordion, the busy yet enchanting sway back and forth produces an uncompromising effect.
Polka is believed to be the 1830 invention of Czech’s just outside of Prague, which travelled into the Czech, German and Polish settlements in and around Central Texas in the 1850’s. Each culture brought with it their own traditional costumes, traditions and variations which has served to keep the practice alive.
This weeks location is also a testament to the culture and history of the music and movement; The Texas Polka Music Museum in Schulenburg, Texas. Opened in 2010, the Museum details in much greater terms the contributions and community that Polka has fostered, including displays from it’s rich traditions.
And, while I try to represent multiple genre’s across the life of the blog, I knew that there was no way that I was going to make it out of this week’s post without an authentic Polka being played. This is “Springtime Polka” from Jan Waters and his Polka-Longs from their LP “Everybody Polka!”. I will admit that I was enchanted by the LP name, that the meager amount I paid for this record was worth every penny and then some.
If you are in or around Schulenburg, I can’t encourage you enough to stop in and say hello to this little Texas gem.